Iranian Kurds were reported yesterday to be joining the chorus of opposition to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and antigovernment violence also continued elsewere in the provinces.
Political observers here viewed the Kurdish unrest as another potentially serious problem for the shah's embattled government. The estimated 3.5 million Kurds in Iran have close ethnic ties with Kurdish tribes that have periodically fought for autonomy from the government of neighboring Iraq.
Kurdish spokesmen said about 1,000 persons, mostly Kurds, began a sit-in two days ago at a mosque in Sanandaj, a main town of Iran's Kurdish region in the northwestern part of the country along the border with Iraq. They said the demonstration was to protest what they termed the arbitrary arrest of five persons by military authorities following antigovernment demonstrations recently in which 15 persons were killed by army gunfire.
In addition to the unrest in Iranian Kurdestan, there were reports of disturbances yesterday in the provincial cities of Mashad and Isfahan. Both have been the scenes of frequent antishah violence over the past several months.
In Tehran, eight new civilian ministers were appointed to the cabinet of the new prime minister, Gen. Gholam Reza Azhari.
With the addition of these civilians, only one-third of the government is now made up of military men.
Another measure announced here was the first controls in several years on private foreign exchange transfers in an effort to stop massive capital flight. Iranians now are allowed to take only about $2,900 out of the country twice a year, with students permitted $1,000 a month.
According to banking sources, private capital transfers by Iranians could exceed $3 billion this year, a key indication of businessmen's lack of political and economic confidence in Iran under the present circumstances.
It was not immediately possible to confirm the claim of the four-man Kurdish delegation from Sanandaj that it represents a majority of Iran's Kurds. The delegation, visiting Tehran to distribute a petition by the mosque protesters, emphasized that Iranian Kurds are not seeking autonomy but are backing opposition calls for overthrow of the shah "because he is a dictator."
The Kurds also are known to oppose the shah because they feel he sold them out by stopping support for Kurdish secessionists in Iraq as part of an agreement with Baghdad in 1975.
"What we want is democracy for Iran as a whole, not just for the Kurds," a spokesman said.
He said the Iranian Kurds recently had received a message from Kurdish tribemen in Iraq expressing "support for the Iranian revolution," a reference to the recurring antishah violence that led to installation of a military government Nov. 5 in an effort to restore order.
The delegation said Iranian Kurds are prepared to fight if there is "no other way" to change the government, though the spokesmen conceded it would be "very difficult" to get guns across the border is tightly controlled by Baghdad to prevent further unrest there.
"But if war starts, we will get them" one member of the delegation said.
He added there is "no real organization yet" of Kurds in Iran. Moreover, contacts with Iraqi Kurds are difficult because Iraqi authorities have evacuated Kurdish settlements near the frontier and the Iranian military has taken over border guard responsibilities since the advent of the new military government in Tehran 11 days ago, the Kurdish delegation said.
Despite this, some contacts across the border are "still possible," the spokesmen claimed.
The delegation's petition, a paper eight feet long signed by about 300 of those said to be staging the sit-in at the Jomeh Mosque in Sanandaj, was addressed to Ayatollah Seyed Kazem Shariatmadari, the highest-ranking Shitte Moslem religious leader in Iran. Other copies were being distributed to associations of Iranian teachers, writers, lawyers and human rights groups.
The document accused the military government of taking away the freedom granted by the previous civilian Cabinet and of making unwarranted arrests in the Kurdish region.
The Kurds said four men were killed on Oct. 30 when troops opened fire an antishah demonstrators. The next day, they said, 11 more died when soldiers fired on protesters during a funeral procession for the first four.
The Associated Press reported:
At a protest led by Moslem mullahs in Isfahan, demonstrators carrying two open coffins dropped them when tropps hurled tear gas grenades. Authorities reported that the "bodies" in the coffins jumped up and ran to safety.
Demonstrators have carried coffins with live "bodies" in them before as a trick to incite unrest and create public sympathy, police said.